Remarks by Under Secretary Lago - October 20, 2022

Astana, Kazakhstan
October 20, 2022

As Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon. I am very pleased to be here at the inaugural Astana Airport Expo on behalf of the United States Government and specifically the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a privilege to help open our U.S. Pavilion, and my thanks to TNT productions for putting together such an impressive event—the first Airport Expo in Central Asia.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of leading Commerce’s delegation to the Farnborough International Air Show. While there might be fewer fighter jets here, the work that you are doing is every bit as important in advancing the safety and resilience of the aerospace industry.

For over 30 years the United States and Kazakhstan have grown our strategic partnership, and that momentum continues today.  We are deepening our economic and commercial ties, including in the aviation sector—whether through the signing of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Air Transport Agreement at the end of 2019, or the ratification of the Open Skies Agreement earlier this year.  I applaud Kazakhstan on its continuing commitment to high standards of aviation safety and security, as well as to strengthening its international aviation policy.

I can sense the optimism of the Kazakhstani government, business community and people about the prospect for direct flights between our countries. I share this enthusiasm, since direct flights will enhance commercial, transport and people-to-people connections. Whether through new routes or other advances, the United States remains committed to pursuing closer cooperation—on the ground and in the skies.

As part of this effort, since 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce has brought 11 Kazakhstani airport industry professionals to the United States to learn about U.S. airport operations—at no cost to the individuals or to the Government of Kazakhstan. Over two weeks of training and networking, these Kazakhstani airport industry professionals not only encounter cutting edge technologies and industry best practices, they also establish valuable business relationships—like those we seek to nurture here at the Astana Airport Expo.

Trade shows like this Expo are vital to creating business opportunities and forging new partnerships.  And the work of growing these business networks extends beyond Astana.  Our U.S. Department of Commerce team stands ready to lead delegations of Kazakhstani businesses to the World Aviation Training Summit in Florida in April 2023 and the Airport Show in Dubai in May 2023, where they will have the opportunity to make powerful new industry connections.

If you are intrigued, please seek out our expert Department of Commerce Kazakhstan team led by Commercial Attachés Donald Townsend and Ja’Nel Edens. Could I ask all of the members of the team to raise their hand? Please seek them out. They are eager to connect Kazakhstani businesses to leading U.S. suppliers of airport and air traffic control equipment, technology and services—many of which already operate in Kazakhstan and are represented in the U.S. Pavilion. I encourage you to swing by.

As this dynamic Expo makes clear, there is ample opportunity for U.S. aviation technology businesses to partner with Kazakhstani suppliers and customers—creating new opportunities for airlines and travel companies, and facilitating more convenient and efficient air services for travelers and shippers.

Progress in the aerospace sector holds the potential to unlock success across the Kazakhstani economy. By further expanding our commercial partnership, liberalizing the industry and adopting and implementing higher aviation standards, Kazakhstan is poised to attract even greater trade and foreign investment in multiple sectors of its economy.

Again, I invite all of you to visit the U.S. Pavilion and meet with the seven cutting edge U.S. firms that are exhibiting here, as well as the U.S. brands whose products are incorporated into products located in other halls throughout the complex. Our U.S Department of Commerce staff is standing by to assist and answer any questions that you may have. Thank you, and I wish you blue skies and much success at this Expo.